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What are Nutrients?

by | Aug 25, 2017 | Nutrition

Nutrients are substances that provide the human body nourishment essential to the growth and well-being of the individual. All living organisms need nutrients to survive and for their bodies to function properly.

There are six essential nutrients for the human body: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Carbohydrates are a necessity in a healthy diet. Carbs are your body’s fuel. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. However, just remember that some carbs are healthier than others. Carbs such as whole grains, beans and fiber-rich veggies and fruits are healthier to eat than white bread and pasta.

Protein is essential to the body. Each and every cell, from your toes to the crown of your head is made up of protein. Protein is essential for growth and body maintenance—after all, hormones and antibodies are made up of protein.

Amino acids make up protein and while your body naturally makes several amino acids, there are also several amino acids that you can only get through certain foods. Luckily, you can obtain these amino acids easily through meat, fish, beans, soy, nuts and eggs.

Healthy fats are important to a healthy diet. Healthy fats like nuts, fish and vegetable oils can help balance your blood sugar, decrease your risk of heart disease and help improve brain function.

Vitamins are especially important for staying healthy and preventing illness and disease. There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs, most of which you can get through eating appropriate vitamin-rich foods.

Minerals help support the body and are critical to building strong bones, teeth, metabolism and helping the body stay hydrated.

Water is absolutely crucial for the human body and 60 percent of the human body is made up of water. Water hydrates the body, prevents constipation and carries nutrients to cells within the body. Without water, the body will become tired and your concentration and physical performance can be impaired.